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Viewing cable 08REYKJAVIK251, ICELANDIC ECONOMIC CRISIS: GOI REACHES AGREEMENT ON IMF

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08REYKJAVIK251 2008-10-27 16:04 2011-01-13 05:05 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Reykjavik
VZCZCXRO5794
PP RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN
RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHRK #0251 3011655
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 271655Z OCT 08
FM AMEMBASSY REYKJAVIK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3864
INFO RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
UNCLAS REYKJAVIK 000251 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: EFIN ECON PGOV IC
SUBJECT: ICELANDIC ECONOMIC CRISIS: GOI REACHES AGREEMENT ON IMF 
PACKAGE OF 2 BILLION 
 
1. (U) The Icelandic Prime Minister, Foreign Minister and visiting 
IMF team held consecutive press conferences on October 24 to announce 
an agreement on an IMF package encompassing a roughly $2 billion IMF 
loan to Iceland. 
 
2. (U) Prime Minister Haarde and Foreign Minister Gisladottir 
announced that the Icelandic Government had approved a decision to 
formally request IMF assistance, and the opposition political parties 
had been briefed on this.  Iceland will take a 2 billion USD loan 
from the IMF to be paid back between 2012 and 2015.  The hope is that 
the IMF package will help open other lines of credit to meet the 
immediate goal of 6 billion USD.  They said that the Russian loan is 
still a possibility in this framework, but the amount will likely be 
lower than the 4 billion Euro initially discussed.  There are no 
current plans to raise taxes to meet the debt, but this can't be 
ruled out.  Haarde said he expected the next six months to be "very 
difficult."  Iceland views the dispute with the UK government and the 
IMF package as two separate issues.  This loan will not be used to 
pay off debts of the collapsed banks -- the government will not take 
public debt to meet private obligations. The PM noted that he alone 
has power to appoint and fire Central Bank Governors and that he has 
no plans to make changes to the board at present. 
 
3. (U) IMF Delegation led by Paul Thomassen announced that the hope 
that the IMF Board will approve the 2 billion USD loan package within 
the next ten days, which would make 800 million USD available 
immediately.  This infusion of cash will allow Iceland to start 
foreign trading of the Krona again, and hopefully mitigate a "flight 
of capital" and a sharp depreciation of the Krona.  The IMF expects a 
recession next year of approximately ten percent of Iceland's GDP, 
but admitted this is a very uncertain figure.  Inflation will spike 
at first, but should drop to 4.5 percent by end of 2009.  The 
Iceland-UK agreement on IceSave deposits was not a prerequisite for 
the IMF package, but ongoing talks between Iceland-UK and 
Iceland-Holland on bank deposits are part of approach that IMF 
expects to GOI to follow to ensure long term financial stability. 
 
4. (U) Post emailed a copy of the IMF press release to the desk. 
 
VAN VOORST